Review: Blood Games by Chloe Neill

Posted August 4, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 47 Comments

Review: Blood Games by Chloe Neill
Blood Games by Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #10
Published by NAL
Published on: August 5, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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While Merit didn’t choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she’s managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet...

A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn’t been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options. Vampires and humans aren’t on great terms, but murder makes for strange bedfellows. Can Merit find the killer before she becomes a target?

Twisted trendy Vampires

*** Review contains minor spoilers from previous books in this series. ***

There are two main plot threads in Chloe Neill’s latest CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES installment, but in all honesty I only had eyes for one. The Tarot murder mystery was interesting enough in itself; I liked seeing Merit & Mallory finally getting back on track, and I enjoyed deciphering the riddles left behind by the killer. However, after the way WILD THINGS ended, my focus was entirely on Ethan’s GP candidacy, and given the title of this book I was a little surprised that the author didn’t concentrate more on the latter and less on the former. That point aside, in BLOOD GAMES readers get to meet Amit Patel (the most powerful vampire in the world!), discover Neill’s version of THE HUNGER GAMES, and no CV novel would be complete without… Sullivan acting like a douche.

I really liked the way that the GP plot line played out; from Darius’ fall from grace, to the trials, to the unexpected end result. Nicole Heart, Ethan’s American competition, does kind of come out of left field though. Perhaps I missed it, but I think some reference should have been made to her before now. I also wish that The Sentinels Games would have evolved past the intimidation stage. That being said, I loved the psych and phys tests that the candidates had to undertake because vampires are an all-or-nothing kind of supe, meaning the BLOOD GAMES were to the death. The physical trial was nail bitingly spectacular with burning buildings, trolls and unforeseen duplicity. I won’t pretend to understand how the GP tallies points, but the winner will leave you wondering.

No CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES review would be complete without a mini Ethan rant, so here it comes! After an attempt is made on his life, the master of Cargodan House receives a note that he refuses to share with Merit because for some inexplicable reason he thinks that lying to her somehow qualifies as protection. Yes, THIS AGAIN. So, of course they end up at odds, seeds of doubt are planted, and the happy couple goes from mock proposals to butting heads. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; will this 400+ year old vampire never learn!? At least their tiff does lead to some light being shed on Ethan’s past with Balthasar, and after Merit proves once again that she’s in it for the long haul some genuinely tender moments ensue. I loved them together in the later chapters, but couldn’t help feeling a little frustrated by the fact that the 28 year old novitiate continues to be the more mature one in this relationship.

The author stays true to her Chicago roots by making the city’s famous food and landmarks integral parts of the story. I liked the correlations between the locations and the Tarot murders, and the Ombuddies were amazing as usual. The ending was a bit of a head-scratcher followed by a startling cliff hanger, but all of this just goes to prove that Chloe Neill’s still got it! BLOOD GAMES is a high octave read peppered with awesome fights, heartfelt moments, and developments that shake the very core of the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES universe.

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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47 responses to “Review: Blood Games by Chloe Neill

    • That’s too bad because I think some of the best books in this series are still to come, especially with how things went down in this installment. And, yes, 10 novels is c-r-a-z-y!!

    • I know that that’s a big no-no for a lot of readers, so I can definitely understand why a lot of peeps quit, but I just couldn’t say goodbye, and now it’s paying off.

  1. Haven’t read any of these yet, but maybe someday. Blood Games itself sounds.. well, interesting 😀 “he thinks that lying to her somehow qualifies as protection.” LOOOOL! This reminds me of Faye’s post from last week 😀 Apparently 400+ years make you not able to grow. Growth is for.. um, younger people obviously *hairflip* I’m glad you got at least a little satisfaction out of this romance 😀
    Siiri recently posted…Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

    • The whole lying to protect a loved one really rubs me the wrong way, especially at Ethan age. LOL But yeah, Merit put him in his place, and then it was smooth sailing for there.

  2. It’s nice to see it’s still good after so many books. I haven’t read any in the series but I have the 3 first books in the series. One day I’ll have to get into them to!

    • The emotional maturity of a scone—haha! I like that! That wasn’t really the spoiler-y bit I was talking about, because I think that it pretty much a given.

  3. I’ve only ever read one review about this particular book in this series, but I can already see Ethan’s quite a jerk. *sniggers* I do think that the older and the longer you live, the harder it’d be to change your nature. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t get frustrating though.

    I’m not sure if I would read this series knowing that it’s already on its 10th installment (*gulps*) and seems far from stopping but I would keep this in mind, in case I ever need a huge Urban Fantasy series to read. 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…Review: Half A King by Joe Abercrombie

    • I think the older a character is, the more set in their ways they become, but a girl can steal dream. The mid point of this series was kinda meh for me, so be warned if you do decide to give it a go.

  4. Ah, dear bloody headstrong “I want to hit him in the head” Ethan! I can’t help but love him, even if he irritates de heck out of me sometimes! I’m so happy Merit is the kind of character that does deal great with his drama and not the kind that makes it worse!

    Thanks a lot for the cliffhanger ending warning, Carmel! I’m not a fan of cliffhangers but I do forgive Chloe many things, cause I love this series!!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins!!!

    • I’ve had a love / hate relationship with Ethan for several installments now, but I still keep coming back for more cuz the man is seriously irresistible!

    • I haven’t listened to this series, so I couldn’t say. There’s usually a sample available on Audible though; check-it out, and see what you think of the narrator.

  5. I gave up on this series when Ethan was killed and then resurrected. I hate when an author does that, it makes me lose faith in her/his writing.
    Somedays I feel like I should pick up these books again, but… I don’t know… Also knowing that after book 10th Ethan and Merit are still having the same problems they had in first books is kind of frustrating… I guess these books are not for me anymore.
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Riddle of the Sands by Geoffrey Knight

    • I strongly considered quitting this series after the whole Ethan thing too, but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. I understand though that for some readers killing off a character is a big no-no.

  6. Nice review Carmel! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one, though I’m not looking forward to Ethan lying to Merit again and having her be the more mature one. Thank’s for the heads up. I always got, so frustrated with him when he does this. Though I am looking forward to the GP plot and more of Merit. Happy Reading! ^_^

    • Ethan’s stupidity is only a factor for about half the book, so at least it wasn’t as bad as in some of the previous installments. But, Merit kicks ass, as usual. 🙂

      • Good to know. Ethan’s stupidity is what I had the most trouble with in this series and it made it hard to get into the books at first.. I glad to know we don’t get a full book of it and Merit well she is great at kicking ass.

    • Lots of peeps broke-up with this series when Ethan was resurrected, but I have a hard time quitting which fortunately worked in my favour in this instance. I think Ethan & Merit are together for the long haul though, so if you don’t like the romance…

  7. WOW! The Chicagoland Vampires is a great series and still going strong in 10th book with new mysteries and secrets which is kind of shocking!!
    I cant waiting for read blood games book and Merit and Ethan new story..
    nice review Carmel!!

  8. I’m ashamed to say that I’m only halfway through the previous book so I’m not reading your review yet-but I’m relieved to see the four stars! She really is pretty consistent, which is amazing after 10 books. I gotta say, though, I was surprised to see that there were like 3 more books listed for GoodReads. I love Ethan and Merit, but I don’t know–is there enough to sustain for that many more books? I kinda want my HEA now.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…If I Stay film + book giveaway